Who's Who - Alan Jerrard

Alan Jerrard Alan Jerrard (1897-1968) achieved seven victories as a British ace during the First World War and was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions in March 1918 on the Italian Front.

Born on 3 December 1897 in London Jerrard was studying at the University of Birmingham when he determined to enlist with the British Army, receiving a commission into the South Staffordshires in January 1916.

As with many members of the Royal Flying Corps Jerrard began his war with the army; in his case he sought and received a transfer to the RFC in August 1916.  It was to be another year however before Jerrard was trained and posted to France with 19 Squadron.

Wounded while flying a patrol in his SPAD VII on what was only his second mission on 5 August 1917 Jerrard suffered a fractured jaw and broken nose.  His injuries kept him from active service for the remainder of the year.  In late February 1918 he was sent to Italy with 66 Squadron.

At the close of the following month, on 30 March 1918, Jerrard's actions on the Italian Front earned him the Victoria Cross.  While on patrol with two fellow officers he downed one of five Austro-Hungarian Albatross scout aircraft.  Flying at low altitude - just 50 feet - he then proceeded to bomb the aerodrome at Mansue packed with aircraft either landing or attempting to take off, destroying one of these.

Under increasing fire from the Austro-Hungarians Jerrard nevertheless rushed to the assistance of a fellow officer whom he noticed was coming under pressure, destroying a third aircraft.  He finally retreated following further attacks with five enemy aircraft at his heels.  Turning upon his attackers he was nevertheless finally brought down by Benno Fiala von Fernbrugg.

Having managed to escape from Austro-Hungarian captivity several months later Jerrard returned home.  Following the armistice he remained in the Royal Air Force, eventually retiring as a Flight Lieutenant in 1933.

He died in 1968.

A 'Baby's Head' was a meat pudding which comprised part of the British Army field ration.

- Did you know?

Who's Who